Archie Schiller, a seven-year-old who has been diagnosed with a heart condition, was made the co-captain of the Australia cricket team for the Boxing Day Test against India. (Image credit: Cricket Australia Twitter)
The Boxing Day Test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground saw an unusual sight. Along with Australia skipper Tim Paine and India skipper Virat Kohli, there was a third captain accompanying the two players. Archie Schiller, a seven-year-old kid, had a special moment to cherish as he was appointed the co-captain of the Australian cricket team for this match. India won the toss and chose to bat with Kohli handing a debut to Mayank Agarwal while Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma were also included. When the presenter asked Paine what he would have done, he said he was not sure but he had asked Archie his opinion. “Archie wanted to bat 100% but I told him that I was not entirely sure,” Paine said. When asked as to what should be the brief for Australia, Archie was clear. “Hit sixes and take wickets,” he replied with a smile. Following the rendition of the national anthems, Archie strode with the other Australian players and accompanied them to the dug-out.
The story of Archie Schiller is of inspiration and fighting an uphill battle at such a young age. When Archie was three months old, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that needed immediate surgery. Six months later, he underwent yet another round of heart surgery and last year, he went to Melbourne for his third open-heart surgery. In his story which was told on Cricket Australia’s official website, Archie’s parents were not sure whether he would survive this surgery but luckily, he did and is now part of one of the most iconic events in the sporting calendar.
Archie being made co-captain of the Australia cricket team was possible due to the efforts of Make-A-Wish Australia, which learned of Archie's circumstances and aspirations during his operation last year. His inclusion in the squad was made public last year during Australia’s tour to the UAE against Pakistan when Justin Langer, the current coach of the side, made a phone call. Paine, the Australian skipper, delivered the news to Archie on December 22, the day he turned seven. The announcement that he was appointed as the co-captain came on Christmas Day, when a Family Day was announced by BUPA at Yarra Park ahead of the third Test. It was the day when cricketers and their families came together to celebrate the occasion.
There is plenty at stake for both sides in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs but they lost the Perth Test by 146 runs as the four-match series is level 1-1. Kohli would be aiming to become only the second Indian skipper ever to win two Tests Down Under and they have made a good start, batting first on a grassy wicket.